2022 Conference Tournament Predictions
It has certainly been an eventful college softball season this year. With conference tournaments beginning around the country this week, the road to Oklahoma City begins.
With OKC in view, will the top teams in each conference come out on top in their respective tournaments, or will there be mayhem as postseason play begins? Before the excitement starts, here are our predictions.
During the regular season, Stony Brook, UMass Lowell, Albany and UMBC competed for the top spot in the conference. The Retrievers are seeking to win the America East for a third consecutive season. While the four teams will be fighting for the tournament crown, UMBC, led by its star pitcher Courtney Coppersmith, should have enough to repeat as champions.
Pick: Wichita State
This season, Wichita State has been closely behind UCF for the top spot in the AAC. As the AAC Tournament begins, UCF, USF and Wichita State all have a great chance to win the tournament. With junior Sydney McKinney and sophomore Addison Barnard leading the charge as one of the best 1-2 punches in the country, the Shockers should win the tournament.
Pick: George Washington
Last season, George Washington dominated the A-10, and this season is no different. The A-10 Tournament will come down to either GW or Fordham. With Sierra Lange leading the way for the Colonials, George Washington should repeat as the tournament champion.
Pick: Florida State
There's a ton of parity in the ACC this year, so we expect this conference tournament to be one of the most exciting this week. With one of the best pitching rotations and defenses in the country, Florida State has remained a powerhouse in the conference this year and has the experience edge over Duke and Virginia Tech. We expect the Seminoles reclaim the tournament championship.
This season, Liberty has been the best team in the Atlantic Sun. We expect that success to continue once the A-Sun Tournament kicks off.
OU’s biggest threat to another Big 12 Tournament title is in-state rival Oklahoma State. For the Cowgirls to knock off the Sooners, their rotation of Kelly Maxwell, Miranda Elish and Morgan Day needs to limit the OU offense. Even with one of the best rotations in the country, the Sooners have too much firepower. We expect Oklahoma to take the Big 12 crown.
After winning its first Big East tournament championship last season, the Villanova Wildcats look to repeat as champions of the Big East. But UConn will seeks its revenge for last year’s tournament final. Freshman pitcher Elise Sokolsky has had an impressive debut season and will play a key role in helping UConn win the tournament championship.
Pick: Weber State
Weber State currently sits at the top of the Big Sky, while conference rival Portland State sits just behind them. With the reigning Big Sky Player of The Year, junior catcher Lauren Hoe, the Wildcats should have enough to win the Big Sky Tournament.
Pick: USC Upstate
Presbyterian, Campbell and Longwood have been battling USC Upstate for the top spot in the conference all season long, but the Spartans are riding a six-game winning streak and should continue to ride that momentum to take the Big South crown.
Led by pitcher Danielle Williams and infielder Rachel Lewis, Northwestern has proven it's one of the best teams in the country. While Nebraska has turned heads in the Big Ten, and Michigan has one of the best pitching rotations in the country in Alex Storako and Meghan Beaubien, we expect Northwestern to take the title.
The CAA hierarchy has shifted over the last year, and Delaware and Hofstra look to benefit from that power shift. Although the Blue Hens share an identical conference record with the Pride, we expect Delaware to come out on top and win the tournament title.
Pick: Louisiana Tech
Western Kentucky looks to repeat as the champs, as they enter a wide-open conference tournament. But Louisiana Tech has the better overall record in the conference, and we expect the Bulldogs to take home the crown.
Pick: Robert Morris
Robert Morris ranks in the top five in batting, pitching and fielding in the conference, and that consistency should help them win the Horizon title.
Princeton and Harvard will meet to determine the league champion. During the regular season, the Tigers took two of three in the season series and rank first in the league in batting average, while Harvard is behind them and ranks third in ERA. We expect Princeton to overcome Harvard for the championship.
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After losing in the championship game last season to Manhattan, Canisius looks to this time win the MAAC Tournament. The Golden Griffins have three players in the top three in the conference in batting average, and Megan Giese leads the league in ERA and is tied for the lead in wins. We believe that will be enough to help Canisius take home the tournament title.
Pick: Bowling Green
Miami has been the best team in the conference this season, but Bowling Green is a squad that could make some serious noise in the tournament. Pitching should be an advantage for Bowling Green, and we pick them to win the tournament.
Pick: Morgan State
No team in the conference has been on a bigger roll than Morgan State. Howard could be one team to give the Bears trouble. But the Bears have momentum on their side, and we believe that will be enough to take the MEAC crown.
Pick: Northern Iowa
Northern Iowa has dominated the conference this year. Last year's Pitcher of the Year Kailyn Packard has led the squad to great heights this season, and we believe that will be enough for Northern Iowa to take the tournament title.
Pick: Saint Francis
Saint Francis enters the tournament as the defending champions. With pitchers Grace Vesco and Rachel Marsden leading in the circle, the Red Flash should have enough to repeat this year.
Pick: Murray State
Belmont and Murray State have been the top two teams in the conference all season. Murray State took the season series when they met in April. While Belmont leads the OVC in hitting with a .316 average, Murray State is first in ERA and strikeouts, and opponents are batting .204 against them. We believe pitching gives Murray State the edge.
Boston University has dominated the conference over the last several years, winning the Patriot League in three consecutive seasons. This year, we expect the Terriers to continue their dominance and win their fourth straight championship.
While Arkansas and Alabama are the favorites to win the tournament, Missouri enters as a team that can create chaos. With KB Sides and Chenise Delce making an impact as transfers, and with the bat of Danielle Gibson, we expect the Razorbacks to win their first-ever tournament title.
Pick: UNC Greensboro
Both UNC Greensboro and Samford are evenly matched this year, but Greensboro took two of three from Samford during the last weekend of the regular season. We expect the Spartans to take the crown.
Pick: Southeastern Louisiana
With Southeastern Louisiana's offense leading the league in batting average and RBIs, and its pitching in the top spot in the conference in wins and second in ERA, we expect them to win the tournament.
Pick: Texas Southern
Bethune-Cookman and Texas Southern have been two of the top teams in the conference all season. Both pitching rotations have the two lowest ERAs in the conference, while Texas Southern has the second-highest batting average and Bethune-Cookman is eighth in that category. That will give Texas Southern the advantage in the tournament.
Pick: South Dakota State
A year after a historic season, South Dakota State is following it up with another impressive campaign. Led by the sophomore trio of Cylie Halvorson, Grace Glanzer and Tori Kniesche, SDSU has enough weapons to repeat as champions. We expect them to win the Summit.
Last season, Louisiana won the Sun Belt and should be considered the favorite to repeat as champions. But Texas State and South Alabama are the biggest threats to a Louisiana repeat. While both teams pose a threat, we believe Louisiana has too much talent and postseason experience to relinquish the title.
Pick: Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon has one of the best pitching rotations in the conference. Pitchers Ariel Thompson and Jacie Hambrick are the only two pitchers with 10 or more victories, and both have pitched more than 90 innings. GCU's pitching should be the difference maker, and we expect them to win the tournament title.